Tag Archives: Jesus

Greg Laurie – Part of the Family

greglaurie

As we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. —Romans 12:4–5

Sometimes people treat churches like restaurants — with a consumer mentality. I want to go to this restaurant. Oh, we went there two weeks ago. Let’s go to this other one. . . . But the church is not a restaurant. The church is a family, and you need to be a part of the family.

You also need to engage. Maybe one of the reasons some people feel as though they aren’t getting enough out of church is because they attend intermittently and don’t commit themselves. But if they would settle in and become a part of what God is doing, it would change for them.

If you have been attending a church for more than a couple of years, then you ought to be involved in a ministry of some kind. You may not be called to preach, but there are lots of other things to do. There is something for everyone. The Bible tells us, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:5-6).

It’s fine to come and be served in the church. But there has to come a point when you start growing up and decide to start serving. And then you will find that everything changes for you.

So let’s stop thinking of the church as them and start thinking of the church as us. Be a part of the family. Take the gifts that God has given you, develop them, and use them for His glory. I suggest that church would completely change for us if we stop coming as spectators and instead join the team.

 

Max Lucado – How Quickly We Forget

Max Lucado

Take this quiz. Name the ten wealthiest men in the world. Name the last ten Heisman trophy winners. Name eight people who’ve won the Nobel prize. How about the last ten Academy Award winners for best picture? Or the last decade’s worth of World Series winners? How’d you do? I didn’t do well either. Surprising how quickly we forget, isn’t it? And what I’ve mentioned are no second-rate achievements. These are the best in their fields.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one. Think of three people you enjoy spending time with. Name ten people who’ve taught you something worthwhile. Name five friends who’ve helped you in a difficult time. List a few teachers who aided your journey through high school. Easier? It was for me, too.

The lesson? The people who make a difference are not the ones with the most credentials, but the ones with the most concern.

And the Angels Were Silent

Charles Stanley – The Question of Inerrancy

Charles Stanley

Psalm 19:7-8

Pointing out supposed inconsistencies has long been a popular pastime of Bible critics. Tragically, some people in influential positions hold the opinion that portions of Scripture are just plain words.

Of course, such critics can’t agree on what is inaccurate. Some would erase an occasional phrase, while others would toss entire books. Christians, however, needn’t fret about the Bible’s reliability—the God who inspired all of Scripture is also the Sovereign of the universe, who has no trouble preserving His Word and keeping it pure. We can depend on His assurance that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Reading the Bible as a complete document reveals that each part is consistent with every other. God allowed for writers’ differences in viewpoint and background, which at times can give the appearance of discrepancy. But further study always reveals how the various parts fit together. Consider the gospels’ four angles on one story. Writing to Jewish people, Matthew emphasizes history and the fulfillment of messianic prophecy. Meanwhile, John tells a love story about a Savior willing to die for the world. While both authors traveled in Jesus’ company, their perspectives differed. Yet in the fundamentals, they and the other two writers are consistent.

It is essential for believers to trust in the inerrancy of the Bible. A flawed book could only be the product of man’s hand, but Scripture is the authoritative Word of God. His Spirit did the talking, no matter whose hand penned the message.

Our Daily Bread — On Listening

Our Daily Bread

Exodus 16:1-8

Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. —Ecclesiastes 5:2

God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason,” the saying goes. The ability to listen is an essential life skill. Counselors tell us to listen to each other. Spiritual leaders tell us to listen to God. But hardly anyone says, “Listen to yourself.” I’m not suggesting that we have an inner voice that always knows the right thing to say. Nor am I saying we should listen to ourselves instead of to God and others. I’m suggesting that we need to listen to ourselves in order to learn how others might be receiving our words.

The Israelites could have used this advice when Moses was leading them out of Egypt. Within days of their miraculous deliverance, they were complaining (Ex. 16:2). Although their need for food was legitimate, their way of expressing the need was not (v.3).

Whenever we speak out of fear, anger, ignorance, or pride—even if what we say is true—those who listen will hear more than our words. They hear emotion. But they don’t know whether the emotion comes from love and concern or disdain and disrespect, so we risk misunderstanding. If we listen to ourselves before speaking out loud, we can judge our hearts before our careless words harm others or sadden our God. —Julie Ackerman Link

Lord, help me to think before I speak, to

check my heart. Help me to control my tongue

and to express myself clearly so that I won’t

cause dissension. Set a guard on my lips.

Words spoken rashly do more harm than good.

Bible in a year: Leviticus 21-22; Matthew 28

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Consider the Lilies

Ravi Z

Wendell Berry has written a poem that haunts me frequently.  As a creative writer, the act of paying attention is both a spiritual and professional discipline. But far too often my aspirations for paying quality attention to everything dissolves into something more like attention deficit disorder. As it turns out, it is quite possible to see and not really see, to hear and not really hear. And this is all the more ironic when my very attempts to capture what I am seeing and hearing are the thing that prevent me from truly being present. Berry’s poem is about a man on holiday, who, trying to seize the sights and sounds of his vacation by video camera, manages to miss the entire thing.

…he stood with his camera

preserving his vacation even as he was having it

so that after he had had it he would still

have it. It would be there. With a flick

of a switch, there it would be. But he

would not be in it. He would never be in it.(1)

I sometimes wonder if one of the most quoted sayings of Jesus is not often employed with a similar irony. “Consider the lilies,” Jesus said, “how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field…will he not much more clothe you?  Therefore, do not worry” (Matthew 6:28-31). Typically, Jesus is quoted here as giving a helpful word against worry. And he is. But worry is not the only command he articulates. Consider the lilies, he said. We hear the first instruction peripherally, hurriedly, as mere set up for the final instruction of the saying. And in so doing, we miss something great, perhaps even something vital, both in the means and in the end. With our rationalistic sensibilities, we gloss over consideration of the lilies; ironically, in an attempt to consider the real work Jesus is asking us to do.

But what if considering the lilies is the work, the antidote to anxious, preoccupied lives? What if attending to beauty, to the ephemeral, to the fleeting details of a distracted world is a command Jesus wants us to take seriously in and of itself?

It is with such a conviction that artist Makoto Fujimura not only paints, but elsewhere comments on Mary and her costly pouring of perfume on the feet of Jesus. The anger of Judas and the disgust of the others are all given in rational terms, the cacophony of their reaction attempting to drown out her quiet act of attention: That bottle would have cost over a year’s wages. The poor could have used that money. This sinful woman clings to a holy man’s feet. Does he not see who it is who touches him? Their response to her and her act of beauty exposes their own inattention to a world beyond the one they see—to their own peril. As Fujimura writes, “Pragmatism, legalism, and greed cannot comprehend the power of ephemeral beauty. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness; the opposite of beauty is legalism.  Legalism is hard determinism that slowly strangles the soul. Legalism injures by giving pragmatic answers to our suffering.”(2) The corollary, of course, is that beauty can offer healing; that paying attention, even to fleeting glimpses of glory, is deeply restorative.

When Jesus asks the world to consider the lilies, to consider beauty in the midst of all the ashes around us, his request is full of promise, for he is both the Source of beauty and its Subject. Paying attention to the ephemeral, being willing like Mary to risk and to recognize beauty, is in and of itself restorative because it is paying attention to him. Here, both the anxiety-addicted and the attention-overloaded can find solace in a different sort of kingdom: one in which there is room for the paradox of a fleeting world with eternity in its heart.

But perhaps Jesus also instructs the world to consider the lilies because it is characteristic of God’s concern for us. The daily liturgy of lilies comes with unceasing care and attention for all who will see it, the gift of a God who revels in the creation of yet another flower, the details of another sunset, the discovery of even one lost soul. Consider the lilies; how they grow. They neither toil, nor spin.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Wendell Berry, “The Vacation,” Selected Poems, (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 1998), 157.

(2) Makoto Mujimura, “The Beautiful Tears,” Tabletalk, September, 2010.

 

 

Alistair Begg – The Lord Was There

Alistair Begg

Ezekiel 35:10

Edom’s princes saw the whole country left desolate and counted upon its easy conquest; but there was one great difficulty in their way–quite unknown to them–“The Lord was there”; and in His presence lay the special security of the chosen land. Whatever may be the machinations and devices of the enemies of God’s people, there is still the same effectual barrier to thwart their plan.

The saints are God’s heritage, and He is among them and will protect His own. This assurance grants us comfort in our troubles and spiritual conflicts! We are constantly opposed and yet perpetually preserved! How often Satan shoots his arrows against our faith, but our faith defies the power of hell’s fiery darts; they are not only turned aside, but they are quenched upon its shield, for “the Lord was there.”

Our good works are the subjects of Satan’s attacks. A believer never yet had a virtue or a grace that was not the target for hellish bullets: whether it was bright and sparkling hope, or warm and fervent love, or all-enduring patience, or zeal flaming like coals of fire, the old enemy of everything that is good has tried to destroy it. The only reason why anything virtuous or lovely survives in us is this: “the Lord was there.”

If the Lord is with us through life, we do not need to fear death; for when we come to die, we will find that “the Lord is there.” Where the billows are most tempestuous, and the water is most chill, we shall feel the bottom and know that it is good; our feet shall stand upon the Rock of Ages when time is passing away. Dear friend, from the beginning of a Christian’s life to the end, the only reason he does not perish is because “the Lord was there.” When the God of everlasting love shall change and leave His elect to perish, then may the church of God be destroyed; but not until then, because it is written, JEHOVAH SHAMMAH, “The Lord was there.”

The family reading plan for February 17, 2014 Job 16 , 17 | 1 Corinthians 4

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – None but Jesus

CharlesSpurgeon

“He that believeth on him is not condemned.” John 3:18

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 15:5-11

When I stand at the foot of the cross, I do not believe in Christ because I have got good feelings, but I believe in him whether I have good feelings or not.

“Just as I am, without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,

O Lamb of God, I come.”

Mr Roger, Mr Sheppard, Mr Flavell, and several excellent divines, in the Puritan age, and especially Richard Baxter, used to give descriptions of what a man must feel before he may dare to come to Christ. Now, I say in the language of good Mr Fenner, another of those divines, who said he was but a babe in grace when compared with them—“I dare to say it, that all this is not Scriptural. Sinners do feel these things before they come, but they do not come on the ground of having felt it; they come on the ground of being sinners, and on no other ground whatever.” The gate of Mercy is opened, and over the door it is written, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Between that word “save” and the next word “sinners,” there is no adjective. It does not say, “penitent sinners,” “awakened sinners,” “sensible sinners,” “grieving sinners,” or “alarmed sinners.” No, it only says, “sinners” and I know this, that when I come, I come to Christ today, for I feel it as much a necessity of my life to come to the cross of Christ today as it was to come ten years ago,—when I come to him, I dare not come as a conscious sinner or an awakened sinner, but I have to come still as a sinner with nothing in my hands.

For meditation: We have no more right to complicate the Gospel than we have to water it down. Feelings are good and proper, but Satan can use them not only to give false assurance of salvation, but also to make sinners feel too bad to obey the Gospel and come to Christ.

Sermon no. 361

17 February (1861)

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Singing Heart

dr_bright

“And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp and Saul would feel better, and the evil spirit would go away” (I Samuel 16:23).

King Saul had disobeyed God and the spirit of the Lord had left him. Instead, the Lord had sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear. As a result, some of Saul’s aides sent for David, who was not only a talented harp player but was handsome, brave and strong and had good, solid judgment. What is more, the Lord was with him.

Every believer experiences warfare between flesh and spirit. As an act of the will we decide whether we are going to allow the flesh or the Spirit to control our lives. One of the best ways to cause an evil spirit to go away is to listen to music of praise and worship and thanksgiving to God. The language of heaven is praise. Listen to music that causes your heart to sing praises to God. Also, saturate your mind with the Word of God. The psalms especially exalt and honor God and express the praise of the psalmist.

I like to begin the day praising God on my knees. During the course of the day, I listen to cassette tapes of praise music as well as recorded portions of Scripture that are appropriate and sermons that are helpful.

Are you discouraged, depressed, frustrated? Have problems in your life caused you to feel that God has left you? If so, may I encourage you to begin to praise the Lord. Purchase cassettes that honor our Lord, that cause your heart to sing and make melody to the Lord, and play them over and over again.

Bible Reading: Psalm 92:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will make a special point of praising the Lord not only through the reading of psalms but also by listening to music of praise. I will remember that praise is one of the expressions of a life that is lived in the supernatural power of God.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – For Your Good

ppt_seal01

Pastor Charles Stanley says “most people do not simply wake up one day and decide to abandon God. Deception usually plays a large role.” Warning: “Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.” (Deuteronomy 11:16) Understand that deception comes in various forms…the comfort of wealth or power; the accolades received for a specific talent; or a compulsion for video games, food, sports, Facebook, or something else. Just fill in the blank.

Loving the Lord your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him.

Deuteronomy 11:22

There is a remedy: cling to God. Be faithful to Him, rejecting all form of idols in your life. Keep His Word in your heart. The Lord requires the same of you as He did for Israel: fear Him, walk in all his ways, love Him, serve Him with all your heart and soul, and keep His commandments. Remember, it is for your good. (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)

Satan would have you believe that rules are bad, but living under God’s guidelines makes life easier. Pray that you hold fast to His ways. Then intercede for this nation’s leaders – that they may not be deceived, but will discover God’s love for them.

Recommended Reading: Hosea 14:1-9

Greg Laurie – A Change of Direction

greglaurie

We must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies. —2 Corinthians 5:10

One morning as Alfred Nobel was reading the newspaper, he was shocked to find his name listed in the obituary column. It was a mistake, but nonetheless, there it was. He was stunned to see that he was primarily remembered as the man who invented dynamite. At that time in history, dynamite was used in great effect for warfare. It distressed Nobel to think that all he would be known for was inventing dynamite, something that was used to take the lives of others.

As a result of reading this mistaken obituary, Nobel decided to change the course of his life. He committed himself to world peace and established what we know today as the Nobel Peace Prize. When the name Alfred Nobel is mentioned today, dynamite is rarely the first thing that comes to mind. Rather, we think of the prize that bears his name. It’s all because Alfred Nobel decided to change the course his life was taking.

Another man, living centuries before, also changed the negative course his life was taking. His name was Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus. Known as a relentless persecutor of the early church, he was determined to stop the spread of Christianity. But after a dramatic conversion on the Damascus Road, Paul devoted the rest of his life to preaching the gospel and building the church. Today we remember him as a missionary, church planter, and author of thirteen New Testament epistles.

If you were to somehow attend your own funeral and hang around during the time when people came to the microphone, what do you think they would say? For what would you be remembered? It isn’t too late to change your direction.

 

Max Lucado – You are Invited

Max Lucado

Jesus gives the invitation in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.”

To know God is to receive his invitation. Not just to hear it, not just to study it, not just to acknowledge it, but to receive it. It’s possible to learn much about God’s invitation and never respond to it personally. His invitation is clear and non-negotiable. He gives all and we give him all.  Simple and absolute.

Isn’t it incredible that God leaves this choice up to us? Think about it. We can’t choose the weather. We can’t control the economy. We can’t even choose how people respond to us. But we can choose where we spend eternity. The big choice, God leaves to us. The critical decision is ours. What are you doing with his personal request that you live with him forever?

And  the Angels Were Silent

Charles Stanley – Steering Clear of Compromise

Charles Stanley

As he took a sip of his first beer, the young man thought, “I hope I end up an alcoholic.”

Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it? No one starts out intending to be an alcoholic or a drug addict, unable to cope with life unless he or she is intoxicated. It just happens—one little step at a time.

Accommodating Sin

Now, you might not be struggling with alcoholism. But maybe there’s another area of your life in which you’ve been less obedient lately. Maybe not a big sin, because we seldom start with serious sins. Instead, compromise happens little by little. The slope to sinful patterns is gradual and smooth.

Consider a woman who purchased a dress to wear one time to a formal dinner. She reasoned that God would want her to look her best. But her finances were tight, so she returned the dress the next day. No problem. No complications. Instead, a lot of compliments. The next time she needed a dress for a special occasion, she didn’t struggle over what to do. Each time got easier. Eventually, it didn’t bother her at all.

Then there was the college student who needed an original idea for his term paper. He realized that if he plagiarizes a little on it, he would sound more intelligent. Writing the paper would take less time too. He was sure God wouldn’t want him to hand his paper in late. So he cheated—just a little at first. No hassles. Good grade. The next time it wasn’t such a big deal. Eventually, he even purchased entire papers online to turn in as his own.

None of these people wanted to fall away from God’s best for their lives. In fact, they were trying to seize the things they thought would bring His best. But good people fall hard when they give up what they know is right.

I’m sure if you had asked Solomon at the beginning of his reign if he would ever consider worshipping an idol, he would have passionately replied, “Never!” But his temptation didn’t come at him head on. He never expected his wives to lead him astray. What started as admiring the beauty of foreign women ended up as the worship of false gods (1 Kings 11:5 & 8). We are no more immune to the consequences of compromise than Solomon.

Accountability

What’s the best way to protect yourself against the temptation to compromise? Develop an accountability relationship with someone you respect and trust. As long as Satan can keep you isolated, he has a better chance of getting to your thoughts. Lonely, isolated people are prime targets for his schemes. Busy workaholics are equally vulnerable.

The last thing Satan wants is for us to spend time together, revealing our weak points and praying for each other. That’s why it’s so important for me and you to find someone (of the same gender) we can get real with, drop our pretenses with, and allow God to work through.

Renewing Our Minds

Since compromise can be born in a single thought, we cannot take lightly the command to “renew our minds.” We must make a special effort to protect ourselves from Satan’s attacks. Personal Bible study, corporate worship, or any opportunity you have to fill your mind with the truth is something you must be engaged in regularly. The mind will be either fertile ground for the truth or vulnerable territory for the lies of Satan.

Opening God’s Word once on Sunday morning isn’t enough to equip you to fight Satan’s attacks the rest of the week. But that’s what he wants you to believe. Don’t fall for his lies. Study and equip yourself for the battle of a lifetime.

Journaling

Finally, I suggest you journal about the areas of your life in which you are tempted to compromise. I have a friend who began writing things down on paper many years ago. He found great insight and comfort as he looked back over the years of written pages that chronicled his life’s story. You don’t have to worry about someone thinking you’re weird or you don’t have the right answers. You can write from your heart, turn over your written thoughts to the One who loves you and gave Himself for you, and then profit from what He can teach you.

No formula can guarantee you’ll never fall prey to compromise. But take these simple steps towards safeguarding yourself, and you’ll be one step ahead of Satan’s plan to sabotage your intimate walk with God.

Adapted from Charles Stanley’s Handbook for Christian Living, 1996. pp. 66-68.

 

Related Resources

Related Audio

The Danger of Drifting: Part 2

How can you get back on track if you’ve drifted in your relationship with God? No formula can guarantee you’ll never fall prey to compromise. But Dr. Stanley says you can take these simple steps to safeguard your life. (Listen to The Danger of Drifting, Part 2.)

 

Our Daily Bread — Why Cause Grief?

Our Daily Bread

Hebrews 13:17-19

Obey those who rule over you, . . . for they watch out for your souls. —Hebrews 13:17

Pastors make an easy target for criticism. Every week they are on display, carefully explaining God’s Word, challenging us toward Christlike living. But sometimes we look to find things to criticize. It’s easy to overlook all the good things a pastor does and focus on our personal opinions.

Like all of us, our pastors are not perfect. So I’m not saying that we should follow them blindly and never confront error through the proper channels. But some words from the writer of Hebrews may help us find the right way of thinking about our leaders who are presenting God’s truth and modeling servant leadership. The writer says, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account” (13:17 NIV).

Think about that. Before God, our pastor is responsible for guiding us spiritually. We should want that burden to be joyous, not grievous. The passage indicates that causing grief for the pastor “would be of no benefit” (v.17 NIV).

We honor God and make things better for our church when we give honor to those He has appointed as our leaders. —Dave Branon

Our gracious Father, thank You for the person

You led to our church as pastor. May we provide

encouragement and support, and may You protect

our pastor from error in both word and actions.

Pastors who preach God’s Word need a good word from God’s people.

Bible in a year: Leviticus 19-20; Matthew 27:51-66

Alistair Begg – Remember the Holy Spirit

Alistair Begg 

Nehemiah 9:20

Common, too common, is the sin of forgetting the Holy Spirit. This is folly and ingratitude. He deserves better from us, for He is good, supremely good. As God, He is good essentially. He shares in the threefold ascription of “Holy, holy, holy” that ascends to the Triune God. He is unmixed purity, truth, and grace. He is good benevolently, tenderly bearing with our waywardness, striving with our rebellious wills, quickening us from our death in sin, and then training us for heaven as a loving father trains his children. How generous, forgiving, and tender is this patient Spirit of God. He is good operatively.

All His works are good in the most eminent degree: He suggests good thoughts, prompts good actions, reveals good truths, applies good promises, assists in good attainments, and leads to good results. There is no spiritual good in all the world of which He is not the author and sustainer, and heaven itself will owe the perfect character of its redeemed inhabitants to His work. He is good officially: Whether as Comforter, Instructor, Guide, Sanctifier, Quickener, or Intercessor, He fulfills His office well, and each work is filled with the highest good to the church of God.

Those who yield to His influences become good; those who obey His impulses do good; those who live under His power receive good. Let us then act toward Him according to the dictates of gratitude. Let us revere His person and adore Him as God over all, blessed forever; let us own His power and our need of Him by waiting upon Him in all our holy enterprises; let us hourly seek His help and never grieve Him; and let us speak His praise whenever occasion occurs. The church will never prosper until it more reverently believes in the Holy Spirit. He is so good and kind that it is sad indeed that He should be grieved by slights and negligences.

The family reading plan for February 16, 2014 Job 15 | 1 Corinthians 3

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The resurrection of the dead

CharlesSpurgeon

“There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:15

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:35-44

There are some faint glimmerings in men of reason which teach that the soul is something so wonderful that it must endure for ever. But the resurrection of the dead is quite another doctrine, dealing not with the soul, but with the body. The doctrine is that this actual body in which I now exist is to live with my soul; that not only is the “vital spark of heavenly flame” to burn in heaven, but the very censer in which the incense of my life smokes is holy unto the Lord, and is to be preserved for ever. The spirit, every one confesses, is eternal; but how many there are who deny that the bodies of men will actually start up from their graves at the great day! Many of you believe you will have a body in heaven, but you think it will be an airy fantastic body, instead of believing that it will be a body like to this—flesh and blood (although not the same kind of flesh, for all flesh is not the same flesh), a solid, substantial body, even such as we have here. And there are yet fewer of you who believe that the wicked will have bodies in hell; for it is gaining ground everywhere that there are to be no positive torments for the damned in hell to affect their bodies, but that it is to be metaphorical fire, metaphorical brimstone, metaphorical chains, metaphorical torture. But if you were Christians as you profess to be, you would believe that every mortal man who ever existed shall not only live by the immortality of his soul, but his body shall live again, that the very flesh in which he now walks the earth is as eternal as the soul, and shall exist for ever. That is the peculiar doctrine of Christianity. The heathens never guessed or imagined such a thing.

For meditation: Spurgeon went on to quote Job 19:25,26; Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Hosea 6:1,2; Hebrews 11:19,35. Does your hope match up to the hope of the Old Testament saints and the experience of Enoch and Elijah who rose bodily into heaven without suffering death?

Sermon nos. 66-67

16 February (Preached 17 February 1856)

John MacArthur – The Joy of Pleasing God

John MacArthur 

“The blameless in their walk are [God’s] delight” (Prov. 11:20).

Our focus so far this month has been on the joy we experience in knowing and serving Christ. Before we turn our attention to the theme of godliness, I want you to consider two additional aspects of joy: the joy of pleasing God, and how to lose your joy. Pleasing God is our topic for today.

Perhaps you haven’t given much thought to how you can bring joy to God, but Scripture mentions several ways. Luke 15:7, for example, says, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Verse 10 adds, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Repentance brings joy to God.

Faith is another source of joy for God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” That’s the negative side of a positive principle: when you trust God, He is pleased.

In addition to repentance and faith, prayer also brings God joy. Proverbs 15:8 says, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

Righteous living is another source of joy to God, as David acknowledges in 1 Chronicles 29:17: “I know, O my God, that Thou triest the heart and delightest in uprightness.” Solomon added that those who walk blamelessly are God’s delight (Prov. 11:20).

Repentance, faith, prayer, and righteous living all please God because they are expressions of love. That’s the over-arching principle. Whenever you express your love to Him–whether by words of praise or acts of obedience–you bring Him joy.

Doesn’t it thrill you to know that the God of the universe delights in you? It should! Let that realization motivate you to find as many ways as possible to bring Him joy today.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the privilege of bringing Him joy.

Thank Him for His grace, which enables you to love Him and to express your love in repentance, faith, prayer, and righteous living (cf. 1 John 4:19).

For Further Study:

Read 1 Kings 3:3-15.

What did Solomon request of God?

What was God’s response?

 

Joyce Meyer – Four Principles for Successful Daily Living

Joyce meyer

For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit). Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace . . . and seek it eagerly. . . . —1 Peter 3:10–11

I enjoy just reading over this passage and soaking up the power from its principles for successful daily living. It gives four specific principles for those who want to enjoy life:

1. Keep your tongue free from evil. God’s Word states clearly, the power of life and death is in the mouth. We can bring blessing or misery into our lives with our words. When we speak rashly we often get into arguments, so choose your words carefully.

2. Turn away from wickedness. We must take action to remove ourselves from wickedness or from a wicked environment. The action we must take could mean altering our friendships; it could even mean loneliness for a period of time. But you can always trust God to be with you.

3. Do right. The decision to do right must follow the decision to stop doing wrong. Both are definite choices. Repentance is twofold; it requires turning away from sin and turning to righteousness.

4. Search for peace. Notice that we must search for it, pursue it, and go after it. We cannot merely desire peace without any accompanying action, but we must desire peace with action. We need to search for peace in our relationship with God and with others.

When I started living by these principles, not only did my relationships improve, but so did my health, my attitude, and all areas of my life. The same will be true for you.

Trust in Him Which of these four principles do you need to work on the most? Focus on one area at a time, and trust God to give you the power for a breakthrough so that you can enjoy your everyday life.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Saved From Our Troubles

dr_bright

“This poor man cried to the Lord — and the Lord heard him and saved him out of his troubles” (Psalm 34:6).

It was a high-security penitentiary — filled with murderers, drug pushers, bank robbers and others who had committed major crimes and many who would never see the light of day again outside those bleak, gray prison walls. At an evangelistic service, however, one inmate after another stood to share how Christ had forgiven him of his sins and how, even though he had committed murder or some other serious crime, he knew with assurance that he was now a child of God.

Many of these men expressed in different words, as I sat there listening with tears streaming down my cheeks, “I am so glad I’m in prison, for it was here I found Jesus Christ, and I would rather be in prison with Christ in my heart than to be living in a palatial mansion without any knowledge of God’s love and forgiveness through His Son.”

Often I talk with people – on planes, on campuses, at public meetings – who are poor, not only materially but also physically and spiritually. What a joy to be able to share with them the good news that God cares.

A “poor man’s” first cry must be one of repentance and confession, so that a divine relationship is established: Father and son. Conversion must come by the Spirit of God, before deliverance can come in the less important areas of one’s life.

But after the Father-son relationship has been established, how wonderful to be able to assure such a one that God truly cares – enough to “save him out of his troubles.” Oftentimes that entails enduring such troubles for a time, but never more than we are able to bear. The supernatural life promises victory – in the midst of adversity.

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will assure people whom I encounter today who are in trouble that God cares and promises deliverance. There is nothing more important that I could do for another person than to help him know Christ, so I will seek out those who are in need of a Savior so that they, too, can experience the liberating power of God’s love through Jesus Christ.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – The Extra Mile

ppt_seal01

Here is a little phrase you’ve probably heard many times: “It’s not my job.” If that’s part of your vocabulary, it shouldn’t be. It will make your work meaningless and destroy your testimony. That doesn’t mean you can’t set boundaries, nor does it suggest you should recklessly take on tasks you’re ill-equipped to manage. But the nation is filled with people today who have decided they are going to do the bare minimum, and sometimes even less.

Those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.

Titus 3:8

If others are going to see Christ in you, you must devote yourself to good works, going beyond your job description, surpassing expectations, and seizing every opportunity. Abraham went the extra mile to help three strangers. The Good Samaritan crossed the road. And Jesus died on the cross. Any one of them could have said “It’s not my job,” but they didn’t…thank God they didn’t.

Today, pray for a positive, helpful attitude, and ask God to help America’s leaders set aside pride, pettiness and partisanship to devote themselves to good works.

Recommended Reading: I Thessalonians 5:12-24

Charles Stanley – The Bible: God’s Love Letter

Charles Stanley

John 17:17

God wants a relationship with each of us, which requires that we know Him. In the Scriptures, we find the records of His spoken words, His interventions in history, and His coming to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. From this Book, we derive our knowledge of the Father.

How amazing to consider that the full work was compiled from the pens of 40 different men writing in 3 languages on 3 continents over the course of 1,500 years! Gather a group of historians from just one generation, and you will have neither the consistency nor the unified philosophy and mission found in Scripture.

Each book of the Bible reflects its human author’s personality and background. Moses was the political leader of the Israelites in the desert; Daniel rose to the rank of prime minister while a captive in Babylon; and Paul, the well-educated former Pharisee, dictated letters from prison. Yet every word is true to God’s central theme: His love redeems those who call on His name.

In 2 Peter 1:21, we learn why the Scriptures are cohesive: God Himself spoke through each human writer. In some cases, the Holy Spirit brought to mind essential details (John 14:26), such as the material passed down orally for the Old Testament or the gospels. Then, to enable the writing of prophecies, psalms, and letters, God’s Spirit revealed important truths (16:15).

The heavenly Father loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him. For this reason, He used men from all walks of life to record His gospel message. Read His invitation for yourself.